In between putting my Halloween decorations away and ordering my turkey for Thanksgiving, I realized that November is National Child Safety and Protection Month.
One of the biggest attractions of the Abingtons for families is that the area is a safe place to live. But safety shouldn’t be taken for granted. Accidents can happen even in the most devoted and informed families and communities.
Athough keeping our children safe is a priority every day, it’s useful to have a special month to call attention to this important topic. This is a good time to brush up on identifying potential dangers for kids and taking steps to make sure they don’t come into harm’s way inside and outside the home.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 12,000 children age 19 or younger die annually in the United States from an unintentional injury.
According to the CDC, most incidents occur where there is water in the bathroom, kitchen, swimming pools or hot tubs. Other common causes of injury in the home are heat or flame in the kitchen, in the fireplace or at a barbecue grill; and toxic substances under the kitchen sink, in the medicine cabinet, in the garage or garden shed, in a purse or other place where medications are stored. There is also a risk of falling on stairs, slippery floors, from high windows or from tipping furniture.
Some safety tips offered by KidsHealth.org include:
■ Keep guns out of reach. A 2005 study on adult firearm storage practices in U.S. homes found that more than 1.69 million children and youth under age 18 are living in homes with loaded and unlocked firearms, according to SmartGunLaws.org.
■ Keep coin lithium batteries, or “button batteries,” and any devices that contain them, out of reach of children; they can be fatal if swallowed.
■ Keep choking hazards, toxic substances, hot and sharp items out of reach.
■ Have your child use safety glasses if they are involved in activities such as woodworking, science experiments involving chemicals, racquetball, paintball or other enterprises with flying debris.
■ Never leave young kids unattended in a bath.
Meanwhile, The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends making use of the following safety devices to protect your children:
■ Safety latches and locks for cabinets and drawers in kitchens, bathrooms and other areas to help prevent poisonings and other injuries.
■ Outlet covers.
■ Anchors to prevent furniture, TVs and ranges from tipping over and crushing children – one child is treated every 30 minutes for a TV-related injury, according to an American Academy of Pediatrics study.
■ Corner and edge bumpers to help prevent injuries from falls against sharp edges on walls, furniture and fireplaces.
■ Knob covers, which snap over door knobs to prevent young children from turning them
■ Cordless window coverings to prevent strangulation.
Additionally, KidsHealth.org recommends that parents learn first-aid, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the age-appropriate Heimlich maneuver.
Keep important phone numbers in an easy-to-find location for you and your kids. Numbers for doctors and caregivers, local police and fire agencies, parents’ work and cell numbers, neighbors and relatives should be posted clearly.
Families should practice their fire escape plan at least twice a year and practice different ways out of your home. They should also discuss the best place or places to take cover in the event of a tornado, wind storm or natural disaster.
Learning and practicing all these precautions shouldn’t cause panic. Instead, they should be a source of comfort.
Teri Lyon is a mom, grandmom and freelance writer who lives in Glenburn Township with her cat.